Panaji: Stating that the state government doesn’t have enough funds to develop the state rivers, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, on Monday, said that the state government will have to seek funds from the central government to undertake the work of desilting of the rivers.
“If we have to undertake the work under the National Waterways Act for navigation and development of rivers then I don’t think that it is possible for the state. In the present situation, the state is not in a position to undertake the work,” said Sawant in the State Legislative Assembly after some of the opposition members objected to the idea of getting funds the Centre for the development of the rivers.
Marcaim MLA Ramkrishna alias Sudin Dhavalikar drew the attention of the House on the flood-like situation that was prevailing over the last three days in the state.
“If the government wants to prevent flooding in the state then they ought to desilt the rivers. Goa was supposed to get Rs 200 crore through Inland Waterways Authority of India, and they were supposed to do the work,” Dhavalikar said.
However, some of the opposition MLAs raised the objection to utilising central funds for the development of the rivers as they feared that Goa government may lose their control and rights over the six state rivers.
“As per the Act, the rivers have been nationalised for the navigation and transporting of commodities. What kind of commodities? It can be iron ore and coal and nothing else,” said Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai.
However, Chief Minister Sawant was quick to respond, and assured the House that Goan rivers will not be used for the transportation of coal.
Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco objected to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s decision, which has given a nod in one of its cabinet meetings for undertaking projects under National Waterways Act on PPP mode.
Sawant responded saying that no projects can be undertaken without the consent of the state government, and assured to seek clarification on the said cabinet decision of the central government.